Dear Readers: We are in the middle of peak hurricane season, and some reports indicate this could be an active one. Hurricanes impact coastal states in a major way, but their effects (high winds, tremendous rainfall, possible infrastructure damage like gas leaks, etc.) can spread inland for many, many miles.

Let's get prepped. The AARP (www.AARP.org) has compiled what they call a "go bag," which can be a small, light suitcase or a backpack. Here's what should be inside:

• Personal items — medications, toiletries (travel size), first-aid kit, baby wipes

• Clothes — layerable pieces, raincoats, rain boots

• Electronics and tools — phone and charger, radio, flashlight, extra batteries, multipurpose tool with knife and can opener

• Important papers — birth certificate, insurance cards, driver's license and credit cards, all in a waterproof, zip-top bag

• Food and drink — snack bars, bottled water

• Cash — enough for a few days, including quarters for vending machines

Preparedness makes things easier and gives peace of mind. Plan ahead! -- Heloise

Making changes

Dear Readers: There's no better time than the present to get healthy and organized! Clean out the refrigerator/freezer, discard junk foods and replace high-fat, high-salt and high-sugar foods (read those labels!) with healthy, seasonal fruits and vegetables.

Then organize your workout! Don't think of exercise as torturous, boring and tedious. Pick activities you really enjoy, like swimming or water aerobics. How about nature walks or dancing? Have fun being active, and the calories will burn away those unwanted pounds! — Heloise

Yard, garage or estate?

Dear Heloise: What's the difference between a yard sale, garage sale and estate sale? — Wilma in New York

Wilma, great question, and 'tis the season! Yard sales and garage sales are pretty much the same thing. A homeowner holds a sale in his yard or garage to get rid of items no longer used or wanted, and hopefully make a little money.

Estate sales are different. If you see an advertisement for an estate sale, the seller has hired experts to determine what items are worth. They are usually held when someone has passed away and the family wants to sell the contents of the entire home.

The other big difference: Yard and garage sales may be advertised in the newspaper and with signs on the street. Estate sales are advertised more extensively, and often online, to attract a broad group of buyers. — Heloise

Makeup time

Dear Heloise: In spite of the fact that life can get very hectic, I've learned it is important to take time to care for my skin when applying makeup. I make sure my skin is clean and moisturized, and I apply primer, concealer and foundation. Then a light dusting of powder, a bronzer and blush, blending everything along the way.

For my eyes, I use primer for the lids, shadow, liner and mascara. Primer helps to prevent creasing, so I never skip this step. I feel prettier and more confident throughout the day! — Nancy in Georgia

Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5001, or you can fax it to 1-210-HELOISE or email it to Heloise@Heloise.com.

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